Family Physician Credits the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program with Enhancing Her Research and Clinical Careers

On April 19, 2023

“I received very thoughtful feedback on my research from my cohort and the various experts who were tapped to help us from inside and outside of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Thanks to the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program, my professional network has grown exponentially, and I have many experts supporting me who are willing to collaborate or offer guidance.”

Alison Huffstetler, MD
American Board of Family Medicine
Specialty: Family Medicine

Huffstetler Alison headshot 200215266 1

“Family medicine, with its incredible breadth and personal nature, really suits my personality,” said Alison Huffstetler, MD. “On any given clinic day, I could meet with patients for an annual physical, diabetes management, or even a rash. I also can connect with multiple members—even generations—of the same family, which can be extremely interesting and rewarding.”

When she is not seeing patients, Dr. Huffstetler is the medical director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. The organization creates and curates evidence to inform policies that support family medicine and primary care and improve individual and population health. “My favorite part of this role is working directly with our fellows and scholars as they develop and contribute to the literature about primary care research,” said Dr. Huffstetler.

When asked how she balances these different roles, Dr. Huffstetler said, “Balance may not be entirely possible, but with so many components to my career, I feel more fulfilled and in control of what I get to do. Also, it would be disingenuous for me to do research on how we practice primary care and to not actually be in the practice of primary care.”

Dr. Huffstetler’s ABMS Visiting Scholars research project, Family Medicine Certification Status and Quality of Care Provisioned in Virginia, examined how board certification in family medicine was associated with the quality of care offered to patients. This research led to Dr. Huffstetler serving on a panel at ABMS Conference 2022 focused on professional self-regulation and the impact of high-value care.

From introducing her to leaders in health care to helping improve her research methodologies, Dr. Huffstetler credits the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program with enhancing her research and clinical careers.

“I received very thoughtful feedback on my research from my cohort and the various experts who were tapped to help us from inside and outside of ABMS,” said Dr. Huffstetler. “Thanks to the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program, my professional network has grown exponentially, and I have many experts in my corner, willing to collaborate or offer guidance.”

After completing her year as a Visiting Scholar, Dr. Huffstetler continued to work with her certifying board, the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). Many ABFM staff members have also worked for the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies, and both organizations’ missions are closely aligned. The teams meet every other month to keep each other apprised of research and activities, to share resources and ensure against duplication of efforts.

Certified by ABFM, Dr. Huffstetler is the Medical Director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Washington, DC and is in family practice at Fairfax Family Practice in Fairfax, Va. Dr. Huffstetler received her medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and was a family medicine resident at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She also completed the Robert L. Phillips Jr. Health Policy Fellowship at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.


Read more reflections from ABMS Visiting Scholars alumni.

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